Death toll exceeded 70,000 in Europe during the summer of 2003

Jean Marie Robine*, Siu Lan K. Cheung, Sophie Le Roy, Herman Van Oyen, Clare Griffiths, Jean Pierre Michel, François Richard Herrmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

820 Citations (Scopus)


Daily numbers of deaths at a regional level were collected in 16 European countries. Summer mortality was analyzed for the reference period 1998-2002 and for 2003. More than 70,000 additional deaths occurred in Europe during the summer 2003. Major distortions occurred in the age distribution of the deaths, but no harvesting effect was observed in the months following August 2003. Global warming constitutes a new health threat in an aged Europe that may be difficult to detect at the country level, depending on its size. Centralizing the count of daily deaths on an operational geographical scale constitutes a priority for Public Health in Europe. To cite this article: J.-M. Robine et al., C. R. Biologies 331 (2008).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalComptes Rendus - Biologies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Barbara Leitner, Statistik Österreich, Austria, Herman van Oyen and Bianca Cox, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Belgium, Robert Jurak and Maga Francic, Croatian Central Bureau of Statistics, Croatia, Terezie Kretschmerova, Czech Statistical Office, Czech Republic, Jesper Marcussen, National Board of Health, Denmark, Eric Jougla, INSERM–CépiDc, France, Stefan Rübenach, Federal Statistical Office, Germany, Silvia Bruzzone, ISTAT, Italy, Guy Weber, direction de la Santé, Luxembourg, Carel Harmsen, Central Bureau of Statistics, The Netherlands; Artur Satora, Central Statistical Office of Poland, Poland, Eduarda Góis, Instituto Nacional de Estatistica, Portugal, Raquel Álvarez Esteban, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Spain, Tatjana Rokavec, Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, Slovenia; Dominik Ullmann, Office Fédéral de la Statistique, Switzerland, Clare Griffiths, Office for National Statistics, United Kingdom are thanked, as well as Anne Scherrer-Herrmann for editorial help. This study was supported by the EU Community Action Programme for Public Health (Grant Agreement No. 2005114).


  • Daily mortality
  • Elderly
  • Europe
  • Global warming
  • Heat wave
  • Human


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